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Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Monday, July 19, 2010

Even this title is a bit too long

At £7 per poem, the Arvon International Poetry Competition exceeds what I am prepared to pay, even though they have online entry and the prizes are pretty good. If I were good enough to stand a chance, I'd maybe give it a go but it attracts some serious big hitters, so I'll keep my €10 or however much it is, thank you.
Browsing the side, though I came across this interesting competition - no prizes, free entry and a good exercise when sitting around in queues-

Ernest Hemingway said that his best piece of writing was a six word story - 'For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.' More recently, Dave Eggers wrote: 'Fifteen years since last professional haircut.'

Arvon's theme for 2010 is the six word story and we want you to contribute. Throughout the year we will be collecting six word stories on our website. Send your six word story to competition@arvonfoundation.org. Or if you're on Twitter you can tweet your story to @arvonfoundation.

The closing date for entries is 1 September 2010. We'll showcase as many stories as we can right here on our website and the winning stories will be chosen by poet Karen McCarthy. The winners will receive a prize of an Arvon week.
And here's a selection of recent competition entries

Top stair. One push. Game over.
Sophie Duffy

"Murdered?" "Not intentionally." "Manslaughter then!" "Whatever!"
Art Duncan

Over burnt lasagna, he confessed adultery
Beatrice Murphy

Essex girl says, "Want a coffee?"
Jenny Long

Tonight only. Moonlit lay-by. Tomorrow lonely.
Paul Stephenson

Open verdict in banana death mystery.
Theresa Stoker

On her pogo-stick, Hope sprang eternally.
Chris Noonan

Rapacity was sexy. Compassion was not.
Philip Pullman

Lost the word for....? Can't remember.
Vicki Feaver

Cutting Room. Editing Suite. Snake Pit.
Paul Farley

Ate apple. Looked back the once.
Jay Griffiths

Fiona. Friends. Farida. Facebook. Fight. Fallout.
Bernardine Evaristo

Trophy wife gifted self to rival.
Francesca Beard

New flame. Maniac. Raw flesh burn.
Brian Chikwava

Could've. Should've. Would've. Didn't. Didn't. Didn't.
Paul Farley

I drowned. Angels arrived in submarines.
Beryl Bainbridge

Thank you to all our contributors. Now send your story to competition@arvonfoundation.org


  1. too funny.
    I like whittling down my extraneous words. (husband says I can't get to the point when I talk)
    this would be a fun exercise.
    Thanks! (you are too funny)

  2. You haven't failed, my friend! Amongst all the self-regarding, self-pitying, breast-beating pseudo-poetic psychobabble that infects blogland, you write REAL POEMS. You have that indefinable quality . . a true poetic VOICE. Some of your "Seriouser Poems" are little gems. (My pet hate is centre justified text . . . but I guess I'm fighting a losing battle.)

  3. I agree with Dianne (a fun thing to do) and with you (The Arvon Poetry Prize fee is too steep).
    Fun post, too.

  4. I suppose the criteria is to say as much as possible in 6 words. Off the top of my head - "An iceberg? Oh, how droll!"
    Doc - its strange but when I'm submitting a poem somewhere, I always use left text but on the blog, I think it looks better. But maybe I'll experiment!